Ventilate Home Before Occupancy (Indoor airPLUS Requirement)

The U.S. Department of Energy Zero Energy Ready Home National Program Requirements (Rev. 04) Exhibit 1, Item 6  “Indoor Air Quality” requires that builders meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Indoor airPLUS Verification Checklist and Construction Specifications.

The EPA Indoor airPLUS Verification Checklist requires in Item 7.2 that the home is ventilated before occupancy.

The EPA Indoor airPLUS Construction Specification states:

Ventilate the home with outside air at the highest rate practical, meeting ventilation requirements for outdoor air flow and humidity control (see EPA Indoor airPLUS Specification 4.5

  • during and shortly after installing products that are known sources of contaminants (e.g., cabinets, carpet padding, and painting), AND
  • during the period between finishing and occupancy.

Advisory: If whole-house ventilation cannot be scheduled prior to occupancy, advise the buyer to operate the ventilation system at the highest rate it can provide during the first few months of occupancy, meeting the above requirements.

Additional Notes:

To protect the health of home occupants and construction crews, select the lowest volatile organic compound (VOC)-containing products available. Even when selecting low-VOC certified paints, coatings, cabinets, carpet, and composite wood, these products may not be 100% emissions-free. In building materials, VOCs tend to be emitted at the highest levels when the materials are new, with emissions lessening over time. Therefore, to protect construction teams and future occupants, ventilate the home during and shortly after installing products that are known sources of contaminants (e.g., cabinets, carpet padding, paint, and other finishes). Also ventilate during the time between construction completion and occupancy. See the guides Certified Low VOC Pressed Wood MaterialsCertified Low/No VOC Paints and Finishes, and Certified Low/No VOC Carpets for more information.

Contributors to this Guide:

Home Innovations Research Labs, lead for the Partnership for Home Innovation (PHI), a DOE Building America Research Team

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Last Updated: Tuesday, July 28, 2015